It's always hard to find a good place to eat in the Newport Beach area that you can get to, that has parking, that isn't jammed, and that isn't outrageously overpriced.. with a great view of Balboa and Lido Island and the boats traveling in between.. with seating outside and in .. with fabulous service this is really a gem.
It isn't easy to find because it is inside Balboa Bay Resort and Club and even though its name is on the wall at the entrance on PCH, as soon as you turn in there are no directions. You can either valet park right at the front and walk in, off to the left, and through the building down to the water to find the restaurant.. or you can self-park and then find your way back to the water side in what would be the building on the left (south)side.
We were there on a Saturday night about 7:30 and there were only maybe 15 other people in the whole restaurant. Unbelievable shame. But luckily, since it's inside the resort, and the resort had a wedding going on in outside space, one can only hope that it will be supported and continue on because it truly was exceptional and worth a trip. Contemporary and "casual" but very upscale decor inside.. fresh farm- and ocean-to-table food.
Sitting outside, on the water, facing west, sheltered from any wind, with a heater if you need it.. waiters who understand dining and service and professionalism, who don't hangover you and don't ignore you either, but who give you absolute great advice, don't upsell you, and make sure that your evening and your meal are the most enjoyable possible.
Our waiter was Paul - the best!
We had spectacular ahi poke (aka tuna tartare), one if our favorites, and I would have to say it was the best I've ever had in my life.
The gem salad next (with pine nuts, squash cubes and a light vinaigrette), with brussel sprouts, and forbidden black rice sides, we shared the rack of lamb. A wonderful but not expensive bottle of Justin Cabernet Sauvignon (Paul's suggestion) was the perfect accompaniment.
Definitely make the effort and go there for a special occasion or just an excellent dinner.